When CT news editor Ron Lee stepped off the 747 in Holland last July to cover Amsterdam ’86, he was ready: His two cameras and four lenses would photographically document the event for CT readers; his state-of-the-art pocket recorder would take down the words of Third World evangelists as they shared their vision for evangelizing the non-Westem world.

Yes, Ron was, journalistically speaking, ready for anything—except for what happened within the first 24 hours of his arrival.

“Hello, Marty,” Ron said to CT’s editorial coordinator back in Carol Stream, Illinois. “I’ve been mugged.”

A nervous silence preceded the inevitable “You’ve got to be kidding!” followed by Ron telling how a leisurely stroll down an Amsterdam street had resulted in his losing both cameras, his lenses, and his recorder—not to mention his passport, airline tickets, and wallet.

Ron himself was unharmed, but he now faced the prospect of wading through significant amounts of red tape in securing the travel documents necessary to get home.

And then, of course, there was his assignment—a cover story and photo.

“My story outlines and interview questions were also taken” (they were in his camera bag), Ron said later, “which meant all the planning that had gone into our coverage had to be reconstructed—and quickly. Time was of the essence.”

Fortunately, enough time was found not only to replace lost equipment but successfully carry out the assignment: you hold in your hands the proof. When Ron boarded his plane for home eight days after arriving in Amsterdam (and after having spent ample portions of five of those days bouncing from the American consulate, to American Express and KLM airline offices, to countless camera stores), he did so with this issue’s cover shot and all the handwritten and electronic notes needed for his insightful report beginning on page 40.

HAROLD B. SMITH, Managing Editor

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